Imaging done Tuesday morning confirmed what many suspected Monday night: New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who spent his first 18 seasons in Green Bay — will miss the rest of the 2023 season after suffering a complete tear of his Achilles tendon on the fourth play from scrimmage of Week 1, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
The news is devastating for Rodgers, who turns 40 years old in December and was revitalized as a newcomer for the up-and-coming Jets. His football future is now exceedingly unclear. The news is similarly devastating for the Jets, who poured resources into this season believing Rodgers’ arrival provided a legitimate chance to make a Super Bowl run.
An offer for Packers fans
The Packers are also affected by the injury, although for much less pressing reasons.
In the blockbuster trade that sent Rodgers from Green Bay to New York, the Packers and Jets agreed on a conditional 2024 draft pick included the deal. If Rodgers played 65 percent or more of the offense’s snaps in 2023, the pick would be a first-rounder. If he played fewer than 65 percent, the pick would be a second-rounder.
Rodgers played all of four plays. The pick coming to Green Bay will be a second-rounder in the 2024 draft.
In a best case scenario for the Packers, Rodgers would have played most of the season for a poor team, resulting in a high first-round pick. While the Jets — despite a Week 1 win over the Bills — will likely struggle without Rodgers, the pick can now no longer be higher than No. 33 overall. More than likely, the pick coming to the Packers in the 2024 draft will be in the No. 40ish range.
The end result of the trade will be the Packers getting a pick swap in the first round of the 2023 draft (No. 15 to No. 13, which became Lukas Van Ness), a second-round pick (which became Luke Musgrave), a sixth-round pick (which became Anders Carlson) and a 2024 second-round pick for four plays of Rodgers in 2023 (possibly more in 2024 and beyond) and a 2023 fifth-round pick (which was involved in a trade down).
It’s unclear if the injury means the end of Rodgers’ decorated NFL career. He has talked recently about wanting to play several years with the Jets, but such a significant injury to his lower body might force a recalibration. Earlier this year, Rodgers said he was close to retirement while comtemplating his future during a darkness retreat.
Keep in mind, the Packers 2024 schedule features a game against a to-be-determined AFC East opponent at Lambeau Field. If the Packers and Jets finish in the same place in their respective divisions in 2023, Rodgers could return to Green Bay. But the future Hall of Famer now faces a long, difficult recovery before playing football again.
If Rodgers retires following this season, he would be eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2028.